The term cognitive enhancement probably still seems like it belongs in a science fiction book. However, recent advancements in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology have led to widespread adoption of so-called smart drugs — cognitive enhancers that improve your ability to focus, remember, and be productive.
Currently, there are three main classes of cognitive enhancers. More categories will likely be added as time goes on.
These medications are commonly prescribed to people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Generally, ADHD medications improve wakefulness, decrease fatigue, and (in some) dramatically increase the amount of time one can focus on a subject. Many people without ADHD — most of them students — now commonly use these medications to improve productivity and complete tasks faster.
Below are a list of commonly used ADHD medications:
The long term side effects of ADHD medications are no joke. They include skin disorders, high blood pressure, heart problems, mental disorders, tiredness, stomach ulcers, and more. If you’re taking ADHD medications without recommendation from a doctor or medical body, be careful.
Eugeroics are mechanistically different than ADHD medications, but their outcomes are usually similar: better focus, improved wakefulness, and decreased fatigue. Recently, a significant body of research has suggested that Eugeroics may be successful in decreasing drug craving and dependence — especially in cases of addiction to stimulants like amphetamine. Many young adults cycle between ADHD medications like Adderall and Eugeroics like Modafinil to decrease side effects and prolong effectiveness.
Below are a list of commonly used Eugeroics:
Although most habitual users of Eugeroics see no pronounced side effects, a small percentage of the population can have extreme adverse reactions like Steven-Johnson-Syndrome (SJS) and organ failure. If you’re experimenting with cognitive enhancers like Eugeroics, take the time to weigh the pros and the cons carefully before you make a decision.
The last class of cognitive enhancers are nootropic nutritional supplements. These substances often haven’t been fully classified as medications, either because of their novelty or because of their subtler effects. Many include herbal components, and in general the effects of nutritional supplements are milder but much longer-lasting than ADHD medications or Eugeroics.
Many consider this class of cognitive enhancer to be “safe”. However, no exogenous substance is without its risks. Side effects of the above nootropic nutritional supplements vary depending on type and dosage, but may include cold sweats, heart palpitations, difficulty focusing, and more.
Remember: most of these products have only begun widespread use in the last few years. Long term side effects are still hotly debated, and what works for one person may not work for another. Consult a doctor before using any of the medications on this list, and stay safe. Your brain will thank you!